The waggle dance of the honeybee Apis mellifera, used to recruit nestmates to a food source, takes place on the surface of the combs in the dark hive. The mechanism of information transfer between dancer and follower bees is not entirely understood. The results presented here reveal a novel factor that must be brought into any consideration of this mechanism, namely that the nature of the floor on which the bees dance has a considerable influence on the recruitment of nestmates to a food source. Dancers on combs with open empty cells recruit three times as many nestmates to a food source as dancers on capped brood cells.

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